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September 13, 2017 10:04 PM

Rapid City School Officials Give Information To Address Teen Suicide

Rapid City, SD

It's been a difficult start to the school year in Rapid City. In just two months the district has lost eight students and one staff member. Three died by suicide. 

Parents and community members filled the chamber quarters to learn how to help kids cope following a death by suicide.

"We wanted to be able to provide parents with what that is, what they can do to help their child go through this difficult kind of grief," Stephanie Schweitzer Dixon, Executive Director Front Porch Coalition, said.

Following three suicide deaths in just two months, the district wanted to make sure everyone is getting the help and information they need. 

"We knew we had to do something. We've been doing quite a lot as a district, planning and getting advice from national experts, but for our community we needed to open the channels of communication and have these tough conversations," Matthew Seebaum, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, said.

They also talked about risk factors, mental illness and warning signs. 

"If you notice a big change in your child, your loved one, in anyone, look for things that are different, look for something that's just not normal," Schweitzer Dixon said.

The audience also got to ask questions. 

"The indication we have tonight that this is an important conversation, it's critical that we continue to have it," Seebaum said. "It's something as a community we all need to keep talking and doing something about," Seebaum said.

Seebaum says the district hopes to work more with prevention and so not just reaction.

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